Solar system’s farthest-out known object is … Farout

An artist’s conception shows the distant object known as 2018 VG18 or “Farout.” (Carnegie Institution for Science Illustration / Roberto Molar Candanosa)

Astronomers say they’ve discovered the most distant body ever observed in our solar system, a potential dwarf planet that’s about 11 billion miles from the sun.

Its nickname? “Farout.”

The far-out object — which is also known by its more official but less colorful designation, 2018 VG18 — was detected with Japan’s 8-meter Subaru Telescope in Hawaii during a campaign to look for extremely distant solar system objects, including a hypothetical Planet X or Planet Nine.

Further observations to confirm Farout’s distance and determine its brightness and color were made with the 6.5-meter Magellan Telescopes at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. The observations were reported today in a circular distributed by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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